Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Where are they now - Calvin Johnson

Some interesting notes on the Lions working on fade routes now that they have additional weapons.

.... The Lions all last week in the OTA’s worked on adding this to their reservoir of plays. I witnessed it personally on Tuesday when I was allowed to be at practice but talked with players about it to see how it progressed. Because the information is proprietary and I certainly have no desire to hurt the Lions I am not going to give great specifics but here is what I can divulge.

Hypothetically let’s picture the Lions in a three wide set (CJ and Roy in the endzone and Furrey in the slot) and a TE and a back. They can send two much larger WR’s (Roy and CJ) towards the corners in a dangerous double fade route, Furrey across the middle and a TE in a quick route (simply moves to a middle slot just inside the endzone as fast as he can) as well as a RB in a flare (quickly moves parallel with the line of scrimmage) while the QB is in a shotgun set. The defense cannot double-team anyone. Critics will say that teams will use a zone blitz to defend it but a double fade and the ancillary type routes of the slot (middle) receiver, TE and RB simply takes such little time and spreads out the defense so much that there isn’t time. Kitna will have to identify the open man ASAP but that my friends is the biggest news out of the OTA’s that any of us could want.

I have told you that the Lions didn’t ignore this part of the offense but that they didn’t have the manpower for it. Now they do. Now you will see it as part of a redzone package that they worked on all last week.

I can tell you that Kitna didn’t throw one bad pass when they were practicing the fade and Orlovsky looked almost as good. People may ask why the fade route is so critical and here is that reason. It is the one play that is indefensible in the football game. If the receiver has size and is in single coverage, a perfectly thrown ball cannot be defended and the corner of the endzone insures that the WR gets his feet down in bounds. It is essentially the perfect play. One that the Lions couldn’t use and the fans were insane (rightfully) about.